Sign-on bonus / Golden handshake

An employer may choose to offer a sign-on bonus or “golden handshake” to entice them to join and/or compensate them for giving up remuneration that they would have received if they stayed with a previous company. The terms of the sign-on bonus will sometimes provide that the individual has to re-pay the sum (gross or net) if they leave the role (e.g. for any reason other than redundancy or ill-health) within “X” amount of time (e.g. one year) ­ this is sometimes known as a “golden handcuffs” deal. In addition, the payment of the sign-on bonus may be staggered (e.g. £X1 will be paid within one month of your start date and £X2 will be paid in your 13th month of employment).